Craft beer company Thornbridge collaborates with Czech beer brand Budweiser Budvar
Budweiser Budvar, the national brewery of the Czech Republic, has announced its first collaboration lager to be brewed outside its home country.
The lager, called Czech Mates, is brewed with UK craft brewery brand Thornbridge in Bakewell in the Derbyshire Dales.
Jitka Vlckova, managing director of Budvar UK, said the brand had a list of breweries in England it hoped to work with but at the top of the company's list was Thornbridge. "We knew we could rely on Thornbridge to create a great consistency in the quality of the beer," she said.
Adam Brož, Budvar's 10th brew master, added that the team were eager to collaborate with Thornbridge as "they have a reputation in producing excellent larger", and the two independent breweries companies have similar production processes. Brož added it took just one trial to create Czech Mates, which is 4.8% ABV.
Vlckova said the company wanted to bring Czech beer to UK audiences but using English ingredients and Peak District fresh water, similar to that found in České Budějovice, where Budweiser Budvar's Brewery is located.
Budweiser Budvar stated last year that it is on a mission to amplify the Czech Republic's reputation as one of "the world's great beer cultures". In addition, VIckova said the company hopes to capitalise on the growing popularity of craft beer in the UK: "We wanted to attract attention to Czech beer culture and bring our brewery knowledge to the UK market where beer is also very popular."
According to CGA, an insight and research company for the hospitality sector, craft beer makes up almost 10% of beer sales, up from 4.5% pre-Covid.
VIckova said Budwesier Budvar's strategy to launch Czech Mates into the UK on-trade market is driven by marketing and social media campaigns, educating consumers about Czech larger via launch events, and tap takeovers. The promotion of the new product started in Thornbridge on Tuesday evening with the company travelled to Leeds on Wednesday to further promote the beer. It had its final event in London yesterday evening. Vlckova also added that part of the reason for the three-night tour was also to raise the profile of the brand and educate people that they are separate from Budweiser, the American beer company.
Eithne Hughes, general manager at the Porterhouse in Covent Garden in London, said: "The Porterhouse are long term fans of Budvar so we are really excited to be pouring Czech Mates. Budvar are the masters of lager with an excellent reputation for quality and attention to detail. This collab with Thornbridge, who are also very well respected, is an innovative move for a brewery of Budvar's history and we couldn't wait to taste the result. We always strive to offer our customers the best beers we can find and this delicious Czech style lager is no exception."
Czech Mates was made available to purchase from 16 May from thornbridgebrewery.co.uk.
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